The cannabis industry is here to stay. There’s no denying the critical role that the best seed to sale software continues to play in the growth of the marijuana trade.

According to Forbes, the cannabis sector is America’s fastest-growing industry. It is projected to create more jobs than manufacturing by the year 2020. In spite of this, a myriad of problems continues to plague numerous cannabis business owners.

The most prominent of these is finding a comprehensive solution that addresses the unique needs of each of the distinct business segments that exist in the supply chain. What’s more, the fragmented nature of the seed-to-sale products available in the market doesn’t make choosing a reliable system any easier.

With all the different solutions available, it’s easy to see why cannabis business owners get overwhelmed by the decision-making process. If you fall into this category, this guide was designed with you in mind. Here’s all you need to know about how to choose the best seed-to-sale software solution for your business.

Who Uses Seed-To-Sale Software

It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is tightly regulated. Any company that handles the plant needs to have a robust software solution in their corner. Remember, the industry has four major segments that make up the seed-to-sale supply chain.

  • Cultivation – The farmers who grow and cultivate the plants.
  • Extraction – The companies that extract cannabinoids and other plant derivatives.
  • Distribution – The entities that distribute cannabis derivatives to dispensaries and retailers.
  • Retail – The dispensaries and outlets that sell the product to the final consumer.

Within these segments are additional auxiliary services like testing labs and technology companies. As the product moves through every step of the supply chain, each industry player has to be able to effectively track all the materials they receive. This continues until the point the final consumer receives it.

The best seed-to-sale software facilitates this process. With that said, here’s how each of the cannabis industry stakeholders uses seed-to-sale software.

1. Regulators

Government agencies that comprise local and state authorities oversee the production and distribution of cannabis. They ensure that companies operate within the confines of the regulations set out by law.

What Do Regulators Use Seed-To-Sale Software For

Regulators use seed-to-sale software to complement their day-to-day operations. Here’s how:

  • Cannabis tracking software provides a chain-of-custody paper trail that shows the ownership, transfer, and movement of the products across the supply chain.
  • The system helps them check that the producers and distributors adhere to the highest standards of safety and hygiene when handling the products. This ensures that the end product is safe for human consumption
  • They can adequately monitor which companies are tax-compliant and which ones are flouting the local and state regulations.
  • In the event that certain products are compromised, seed-to-sale software can accurately pinpoint the precise batch. This allows them to recall all products that may have been adversely affected.

2. Operators

The operators in the cannabis supply chain are comprised of cultivators who grow the plants, extraction companies, distributors, and retailers. They represent the seed-to-sale part of the process.

Why Do Operators Need the Best Seed to Sale Software

Operators use seed-to-sale software to complement their day-to-day operations in the following ways:

  • Cultivators use it to keep track of important dates in the growth cycle. These include the date of:
    • Seed acquisition
    • Seed planting
    • Germination
    • Harvesting
    • Processing
  • They use the system to assign batch numbers that identify different strains of the plant.
  • They can keep track of various compliance metrics some of which include:
    • Licensing requirements
    • Lab testing
    • Waste management regulations
    • Packaging requirements
    • Labeling requirements
    • Transportation regulations
  • Operators also use it to improve the profitability of their business operations. Inventory management is a prime example of this.
  • The system adds a measure of security to ensure that only authorized persons handle the product.
  • The transparency provided by the system helps to protect a company’s reputation.
  • Operators have greater visibility over the operations of their businesses. This helps them avoid critical oversights that could result in civil or criminal culpabilities.

The high level of scrutiny that cannabis operators are subjected to is all the more reason that each step of their workflow has to be streamlined. Businesses have to monitor their operations more closely. They have to continuously work to improve their systems and mitigate any risk that arises from potential infractions.

3. Consumers

Cannabis Consumer

The ultimate beneficiaries of seed-to-sale software are the end consumers. While they may not directly interact with the systems, they still benefit from the protection they provide. Here’s how:

  • Contaminated, damaged or mislabelled products are intercepted before consumers acquire the faulty products.
  • If compromised products reach the consumer market, recalls are done quickly, efficiently, and effectively to arrest widespread use of the products in question.
  • Consumers have first-hand information about the history of their product through tracking systems. That way they feel comfortable knowing that the products they are purchasing are fit for human consumption

How to Choose the Best Seed To Sale Software Solution for Your Cannabis Business

To reap all the benefits that come from running a successful cannabis business, you need to integrate the right systems to help you manage all aspects of your company. With all the different options available in the market today, how do you know which one is right for you? These seven key pointers should help make the decision-making process easier.

1. Define Your Business Requirements

Before you can even begin looking for seed to sale software vendors, you need to define what the scope of your project is. Are you looking for a system that integrates all the existing systems you have running into one framework? Are you looking to focus on specific parts of the business processes, like cultivation, cash flow, warehouse control, and/or inventory management? Are there some inefficiencies or bottlenecks that you want the new system to address?

This is a great opportunity to look at the current operating environment of your company and generate some ideas about the improvements you wish to make. List these among your requirements and discuss them with your vendor. With that information, they can come up with a system that implements your requirements to build a robust seed to sale platform.

2. Think About Software Integration and Customization

Regardless of how comprehensive your list of requirements is, the cannabis industry is evolving at a rapid rate. Chances are your requirements will also change at the same pace.

The real question is: Can your software adapt to your business’ ever-changing needs? Will your seed-to-sale platform become obsolete in a couple of years?

The answer to these lies in choosing software that has dynamic integration and customization capabilities. It’s important to note, however, that “customization” isn’t the same thing as “configuration”.

Configuration can easily be done from the user interface by selecting preferences from a list of available options within the seed to sale software. Customization, on the other hand, involves changing the source code of your application to suit your organizational needs.

Needless to say, the latter not only costs more but is also more time-consuming. Find technology that supports sharing critical digital resources among the various stakeholders in the cannabis industry, specifically producers and distributors. This not only boosts the efficiency of different business functions but it is cost-effective since it doesn’t require a high level of customization.

3. Consider the Infrastructure of Your Software

When choosing the best seed to sale system for your cannabis business, you should also think about using the best architecture. Some key considerations include:

i. Local vs. Cloud Platforms

Each has its pros and cons. The option you choose depends on several factors.

For instance, going with a local installation might require that you put up a large upfront investment. This could be a potential challenge if you lack adequate financial resources.

Cloud systems, on the other hand, provide full-time, real-time access to system resources. They also support collaborations between different stakeholders because of their mobility. However, they require a thorough integration evaluation to be done before you can migrate data to the new platform.

Ii. Deployment Considerations

You need to consider whether or not the system can be deployed using a third-party hosting service. If you have the right kind of hardware and software requirements, you could consider doing an on-premises deployment.

iii. Security

The importance of securing your seed to sale platform cannot be overstated. You need to look for a system with superior security features that restricts and controls user access to the system, including single sign-on user validation and HTTPS encryption.

4. Do Your Due Diligence

Due diligence is crucial when it comes to choosing top seed-to-sale software for any marijuana business. Get as much information as you can on the different solutions available in the market.

Search for a vendor’s online presence and read about what their past customers have to say about their product. The more pros and cons you’re aware of, the more empowered you’ll be to make the best decision for your organization.

It also helps to attend industry networking events and talk to others who’ve adopted a similar business model to yours. Ask them about the technology solution they’re using and take some time to learn how they feel about it.

5. Evaluate Different Vendors

When choosing seed to sale software solutions, it’s important to choose a vendor that specializes in the cannabis industry. They have a distinct advantage over competitors because they understand the complexities and intricacies of the cannabis supply chain.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, find out how quickly a particular service provider can implement the solution. It’s also important to learn what level of training and technical support they’ll offer after implementation.

Additionally, you need to find a vendor who can incorporate state cannabis regulations in the system. While all vendors might upsell their solutions as being superior to others in the market, that shouldn’t be your sole deciding factor. You need to find a reputable vendor that understands your needs and can customize a unique solution based on them.

6. Consider the Resources Required for Training

When choosing a solution for your cannabis business, you need to think about the time resources you’re required to invest. Remember, all staff members need training on how to effectively use the new system.

While it certainly helps to have a user-friendly UI to expedite the learning process, you need to take proactive measures to reduce this burden from your employees. So, ensure that the vendor you decide to go with also factors in the cost of tech support.

7. Ask for References

Do you think you found the best seed to sale software vendor? Don’t just take their word for it. Ask them to provide you with a list of verifiable references. The magic number is five. If they can’t provide you with at least five satisfied customers, that’s a red flag right there. Ask customers if they are happy with the solution and how engaged the vendor has been since they implemented the product.

Also, find out if the employee training they received was adequate and whether they recommend that particular solution. This gives you greater insight into the software before you make a definitive solution.

Choose the Right Implementation Partner

Buying the best seed to sale software for your company goes beyond simply getting a license for it. You need the right implementation partner to customize it for your cannabis business’ unique requirements. This will not only save you money in the long run, but you’ll realize a higher ROI than you originally anticipated.

Did you find this guide useful? Then you’ll enjoy reading about out how cannabis seed-to-sale software saves you time and money!